MAC Wrestling Championships Sunday, March 10th
March 9, 2013Eastern Indiana Sports
MAC PRESS RELEASE
The University at Buffalo and Alumni Arena will be the host for the 2013 MAC Wrestling Tournament on Sunday, March 10 beginning at 10 am ET. Central Michigan is the reigning MAC Champion having won the last 11 consecutive MAC Wrestling Championships. However, new competition will be present this year after the MAC added three new affiliate members for wrestling earlier this fall, as Missouri and Northern Iowa join the MAC for the 2013 Conference Wrestling Tournament, while Old Dominion will join the MAC for the 2014 season.
The MAC has already received 30 qualifier allocations for the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, to be held in Des Moines, Iowa from March 21-23. The MAC received 30 auto-qualifier bids, which tied with the ACC for the third most of any conference in the nation. MAC wrestlers were ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the NCAA RPI Ranking or NCAA Coaches Ranking in five of the ten weight classes -- 125: Alan Waters, Missouri (No. 1 RPI and Coaches Rankings); 133: Nathan McCormick, Missouri (No. 2 RPI Ranking); 184: Ben Bennett, Central Michigan (No. 2 Coaches Ranking); 197: Dustin Kilgore, Kent State (No. 1 Coaches and No. 2 RPI Rankings) and 285: Dom Bradley, Missouri (No. 2 Coaches Ranking).
At least 30 MAC wrestlers will advance automatically from the MAC Championships after March 10. After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will select 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 13. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on head-to-head competition, qualifying event placement, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, RPI, coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.
Here is a look at each MAC program entering this year's tournament.
MAC Wrestling Championships Come to Alumni Arena
BUFFALO, NY - Some of the very best talent in the nation will be on display at Alumni Arena on Sunday, as the new era of Mid-American Conference wrestling begins. The all-day eight-team tournament that features 41 individuals ranked in the final NCAA coaches top-33 rankings. This marks the first time that fourth-ranked Missouri and 22nd-ranked Northern Iowa join the MAC, expanding the field to eight teams.
At 125 pounds, Max Soria comes into the tournament on a hot streak, and is the fifth seed in the bracket. Soria has won eight of his past nine matches, and comes into the tournament with a 23-11 overall record (8-3 in duals). After earning a national qualifying bid as a redshirt sophomore last season, the Kings Park, NY native is poised to make back-to-back trips to nationals. He sits in a talented bracket, with the four seeds ahead of him all ranked in the top 30 nationally, headed up by Alan Waters of Missouri, the top ranked 125 pound wrestler in the country in the RPI and coaches poll. The 125 pound division received four automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
At 133, Justin Farmer will represent the Bulls in what is expected to be a fiercely contested division. Three wrestlers who are ranked in the top 10 nationally, with Missouri's Nathan McCormick coming in ranked fifth in the country and the top seed in the tournament. Scotti Sentes, a two-time All-American and two-time MAC champion returns from a 2012 redshirt season and will be the second seed, and Northern Iowa's Levi Wolfensperger will sit as the third seed as the tenth ranked wrestler at 133 nationally. Farmer will be the seventh seed. The 133 pound division received three automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
At 141 pounds, 13th-ranked Joey Lazor of Northern Iowa earns the top overall seed but Buffalo's Erik Galloway comes into the tournament as a darkhorse after successfully moving up to this division from 133 in late December. Since moving up a weight class, Galloway is 5-2 and won four straight MAC duals to end the regular season. The 141 pound division received only automatic qualifier bid to the NCAA tournament, meaning only the champion is guaranteed a place at nationals.
At 149, 12th-ranked Drake Houdasheldt of Missouri comes in as the top seed, but this division could prove to be the most competitive division on Sunday. Blake Roulo has been assigned the sixth overall seed, but is motivated after placing second in last year's MAC tournament. After starting the season slow with a 5-7 record, he has gone 11-3 since then and won six of the final seven duals. The 149 pound division received two automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
At 157 pounds, Wally Maziarz will represent Buffalo as the seventh seed in another division full of parity. The top five seeds are all ranked between 15 and 31 in the coaches poll, headlined by top-seeded Kyle Bradley of Missouri. Maziarz ended the season with adversity after a strong start to the season that saw him push his overall record as high as 17-5 as of Dec. 2. He finished with 23 wins overall, good for second on the team. The 157 pound division received three automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
At 165 pounds, Mark Lewandowski will enter his final conference tournament as the third seed in the tournament, a surprising development for the senior, who is the highest ranked MAC wrestler nationally (eighth in the RPI rankings and 14th in the coaches poll). Mike Ottinger of Central Michigan earns the top seed and Zach Toal of Missouri is seeded second. Lewandowski met Toal in the national tournament last season, beating him 3-1. Coming into the tournament with a 28-6 overall record, Lewandowski ended the season on a nine-dual meet win streak, and won nine straight overall matches. After losing the 165 pound title to Ottinger in 2012, Lewandowski looks to cap his career at home with his second conference title. The 165 pound division received two automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
At 174 pounds, the season of adversity for senior John-Martin Cannon all comes down to Sunday. After sitting out over a month to help heal an ailing knee injury, Cannon returns as the fourth seed in the tournament. Missouri's Todd Porter is the top seed and the 10th ranked wrestler nationally. Cody Walters and Sam Wheeler earned the second and third seeds, respectfully, after beating Cannon earlier in the season. The 174 pound division of the MAC was the held in the highest regard nationally, receiving five automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament, second in bids only to the Big Ten among conferences.
At 184, Tony Lock will be the seventh seed in a competitive bracket. Ben Bennett of Central Michigan is ranked second in the nation and is the clear-cut top seed in the bracket. He is looking to become just the fifth wrestler in MAC history to win four individual titles. Ryan Loder of Northern Iowa is ranked sixth in the nation and will sit as the second seed, and #12 Mike Larson of Missouri is ranked third. Lock returned from injury on Feb. 16 after missing two full months of competition, and he finished with an 8-10 record. The 184 pound division received four automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
At 197 pounds, Dustin Kilgore comes into Sunday as the top-ranked wrestler in the country and is the top seed. After winning the 2011 national title, Kilgore took an Olympic redshirt and returns to the MAC now in hopes of joining an exclusive group of wrestlers who won four individual conference titles. Brent Haynes of Missouri is the second seed, and Nick Whiteburg of Eastern Michigan is seeded third. Buffalo's Angelo Malvestuto returned from injury after two months and proved enough to garner the fifth seed. The 197 pound division received three automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
Last but certainly not least is heavyweight, where three of the top 16 wrestlers in the nation will compete. Dom Bradley of Missouri has been ranked by most media outlets as the top heavyweight in the country, but comes in ranked second in the coaches poll and is the top seed. Jarod Trice is right behind him at sixth nationally and is the second seed. Rounding out the nationally ranked wrestlers is Jeremy Johnson of Ohio, who is the defending MAC heavyweight champion. For Buffalo, Justin Heiserman is the seventh seed. The heavyweight division received three automatic qualifier bids to the NCAA tournament.
Quarterfinals begin on three mats at 10 am, and the consolation and championship semifinal round will begin at 1 pm. The Championship Finals Parade will be held at 5 pm, with championships to be held at 5:20 pm. True placing matches will take place immediately after the finals are completed, where qualifying bids are available.
TICKETS: ADULTS: $10; SENIORS/YOUTHS: $7
CURRENT STUDENTS OF PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS FREE WITH COLLEGE ID
TO PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE CALL THE UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO TICKET OFFICE AT 1-877-UB-THERE
No. 11 Chippewas Seek 12th-Straight MAC Championships Crown
MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan wrestling program will look to claim its 12th consecutive Mid-American Conference Championships title this weekend when it travels to the University at Buffalo for the annual conference tournament. Competition begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at Buffalo's Alumni Arena, with the championship matches slated to begin at 5:20 p.m. The tournament is a one-day event.
The Chippewas claimed the regular-season title with a perfect 5-0 record in MAC duals and are currently ranked No. 11 in the InterMat Tournament Strength rankings. MAC wrestling affiliate member and preseason favorite to win the championships Missouri is ranked No. 5 by InterMat.
"We have our work cut out for us," head coach Tom Borrelli said. "It's going to be a heck of a scrap this weekend. Those affiliate members [Missouri and Northern Iowa] bring a lot to our conference and will pose a great challenge, as will the rest of the conference."
CMU Seeking 12th Straight MAC Championships Crown: CMU has won 11 consecutive MAC Championships titles and 14 of the last 15 conference tournament crowns. CMU's current streak of 11 straight titles is the longest streak in MAC history. The Chippewas have won 16 MAC Championships titles overall to lead the conference. Ohio is the only other team since 1998 to win the conference tournament title.
Follow the Action: Updates on the Chippewas' performance at the MAC Championships will be posted throughout the tournament on Facebook.com/CMUWrestling and on Twitter @CMUWrestling.
Bennett Seeks Fourth MAC Title: Senior Ben Bennett can become just the second wrestler in program history to win four MAC titles this weekend. Bennett claimed back-to-back titles at 174 pounds in his freshman and sophomore campaigns before moving up to 184 pounds last season where he became the 10th three-time MAC champ in program history. Bennett enters the tournament ranked No. 2 in the country nationally.
Experience a Factor: After having six wrestlers make their MAC Championships debut last season, the Chippewas lineup will feature just two wrestlers making their debut Sunday. Redshirt freshmen Lucas Smith (157) and Jackson Lewis (197) will be competing at the MAC Championships for the first time.
MAC Announced Pre-Seeds: The Mid-American Conference released its pre-seeds for this weekend's tournament Tuesday with senior Ben Bennett (184) and sophomore Mike Ottinger (165) were each slated as the No. 1 seed in their respective weight class for Sunday's tournament. Wrestlers were seeded 1-8 and CMU's first-round matchups are as followed:
125: No. 2 Christian Cullinan vs. No. 7 Kevon Powell (Ohio)
133: No. 2 Scotti Sentes vs. No. 7 Justin Farmer (Buffalo)
141: No. 5 Scott Mattingly vs. No. 4 Nick Hucke (Missouri)
149: No. 2 Donnie Corby vs. No. 7 Mike Shaw (Eastern Michigan)
157: No. 5 Lucas Smith vs. No. 4 Spartak Chino (Ohio)
165: No. 1 Mike Ottinger vs. No. 8 Jarrett Jensen (Northern Iowa)
174: No. 5 Craig Kelliher vs. No. 4 John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo)
184: No. 1 Ben Bennett vs. No. 8 Bryan Loughlin (Northern Illinois)
197: No. 8 Jackson Lewis vs. No. 1 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State)
Hwt: No. 2 Jarod Trice vs. No. 7 Justin Heiserman (Buffalo)
*Matchups are subject to change and official brackets will be released prior to the tournament.
MAC Allocated 30 Bids to NCAA Championships: Each of the 10 weight class champions at this weekend's conference tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. The NCAA awarded the conference multiple automatic bids at all but one weight class and at-large bids will be announced next week. Breaking down the MAC's 30 automatic bids by weight class:
125 Pounds: 4 bids
133 Pounds: 3 bids
141 Pounds: 1 bid
149 Pounds: 2 bids
157 Pounds: 3 bids
165 Pounds: 2 bids
174 pounds: 5 bids
184 pounds: 4 bids
197 pounds: 3 bids
Heavyweight: 3 bids
In the Rankings: The Chippewas enter the MAC Championships 11th in InterMat's tournament strength rankings. Seniors Christian Cullinan (No. 10, 125 pounds), Scotti Sentes (No. 8, 133 pounds), Ben Bennett (No. 2, 184 pounds) and Jarod Trice (No. 7, heavyweight) are ranked among the top 20 nationally in their weight class by InterMat.
Last Year at the MAC Championships: CMU claimed its 11th consecutive conference tournament title by claiming all nine of its matches in the final session - five championship matches and four consolation finals - to score 89 team points ahead of Kent State (79 points) and Eastern Michigan (49). Winning individual titles for CMU were Joe Roth (125), Zach Horan (133), Donnie Corby (157), Mike Ottinger (165) and Ben Bennett (184).
The Eastern Michigan Eagles look to build off of a third-place finish last season, when they sent four grapplers to the NCAA Championships.
“Winning this tournament is going to be very difficult,” remarked Head Coach Derek DelPorto. “We have three top-20 teams, which was not the case for the 1996 team. I'm not saying it is impossible, just very difficult. We would be greatly satisfied with placing all 10 guys and sending a few to the NCAAs.”
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION: The Mid-American Conference has built itself into one of the most formidable wrestling leagues in the nation. This year's field boasts three nationally-ranked teams including 11-time defending MAC Champion Central Michigan, which sits at No. 9. Ranked No. 5 nationally is satellite member Missouri, which is fresh off a third-place showing at the NWCA National Duals, and Kent State worked its way back into the top-25 at No. 20.
LAST TIME OUT AT MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Eagles scored 49 points for a third place finish at the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championships, March 4, on the campus of Ohio University. Seven out of 10 EMU wrestlers earned top-four finishes including Jared Germaine (125 lbs.) and Phillip Joseph (174 lbs.), who earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.
Seven placewinners eclipsed the 2006-07 team's mark of six and was just one shy the 1995-96 team's eight placers. A third-place finish was also good for the team's highest finish since the 1995-96 squad captured the MAC team championship.
Joseph was one of four Eagles to turn in a runner-up performance at the annual tournament Andrew Novak (133 lbs.), Aaron Sulzer (157 lbs.) and Nick Whitenburg (197 lbs.) also claimed second place honors. Sulzer and Wes Schroeder ended up earning at-large bids to the NCAA Championships.
GERMAINE BACK JUST IN TIME: After sitting out the last two months with an injury, 2012 NCAA qualifier Jared Germaine is ready to participate in his third straight MAC Championships at 125 lbs. Germaine (16-10; 1-0 MAC) took third place in the lightweight spot last season and will need at least a fourth-place showing to make it to the national tournament in 2013.
FIGHT TO THE TOP: Redshirt senior Aaron Sulzer and redshirt junior Nick Whitenburg each finished the MAC season with undefeated records. Sulzer went 4-0 at 157 lbs., while Whitenburg stormed back from an injury earlier in the year to go 3-0 at 197 lbs. Both grapplers have their eyes set on becoming the first individual MAC champion since John McClure accomplished the feat at 197 lbs. in 2009.
Sulzer will be competing in his fourth-straight MAC Championships. He placed third in 2011 and second in 2012 at 157 lbs. and received at-large bids to the NCAA Championships each time. Whitenburg, taking on postseason wrestling for a third consecutive year, also claimed runner-up honors in 2012, but the MAC was only allocated one national qualifier at 197 lbs.
PHIL WANTS BACK IN: Redshirt junior Phillip Joseph (15-11; 3-1 MAC) fought his way back from injury in the 2010-11 season to earn a second place in the 2012 MAC Championships and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Despite the 174 lbs. weight class receiving five automatic bids this season, Joseph will have to contend with seven nationally-ranked wrestlers at that position to make it to Des Moines.
NEW FACES ON THE BIG STAGE: Three EMU wrestlers, redshirt freshmen Vincent Pizzuto (133 lbs.) and Michael Shaw (149 lbs.) along with true freshman Jacob Davis (165 lbs.) will be competing in their first MAC Championships. Pizzuto's record stands a 11-10 overall and 1-0 in MAC regular-season action, while Shaw is 11-14 (0-4 MAC) and Davis is 18-11 (1-4 MAC).
FAMILIARITY IN AN UNFAMILIAR SPOT: Heavyweight Chris Eggert returns to the MAC Championships for the first time since 2011, when he represented the Eagles at 174 lbs. After coming back from injury last season, Eggert has spent the 2012-13 campaign at heavyweight. A top-three finish would send the redshirt senior to the NCAA Championships.
NCAA SETS NATIONAL QUALIFIER ALLOCATIONS: The NCAA announced the 290 qualifier allocations for the 2013 national tournament. Each of the 10 weight classes received 29 automatic bids. Those bids were then divided up among the 10 participating conferences. The Mid-American Conference received 30 of the 290 bids, which was tied for the third most with the Atlantic Coast Conference behind only the Big Ten (74 bids) and the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (45 bids).
The MAC receives four automatic national qualifiers at 125 lbs., three at 133 lbs., one at 141 lbs., two at 149 lbs., three at157 lbs. two at 165 lbs., five at 174 lbs., four at 184 lbs., and three at 197 lbs. and heavyweight.
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 13. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.
DES MOINES IS THE PLACE TO BE: The NCAA Championships will run March 21-24 in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Wells Fargo Arena at Iowa Events Center. The arena offers unobstructed sight lines, comfortable seating and outstanding amenities for up to 17,100 guests.
Eight-Team MAC Championships Set for Sunday at Buffalo
The goal of advancing to the NCAA Championships and the efforts of an entire season for 10 Kent State wrestlers comes down to one day as the Golden Flashes compete in the 2013 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships Sunday in Buffalo. Quarterfinals of the eight-team tournament begin at 10 a.m. inside Alumni Arena. The final round is slated to begin at 5 p.m.
Kent State is ranked No. 21 by InterMat and No. 20 by both WrestlingReport.com and Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine. The Flashes are making their third trip to Alumni Arena this season following the Buffalo Brawl Invitational (Nov. 4) and a dual meet with the Bulls (Feb. 3).
A live video stream can be seen on MAC-Sports.com. Live updates will be given throughout the day on KentStateSports.com.
Thirty NCAA Qualifying Spots at Stake: The NCAA allocated the Mid-American Conference 30 automatic bids to the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The MAC received five bids at the 174-pound weight class, four at 125 and 184, three at 133, 157, 197 and 285, two at 149 and 165 pounds and one at 141. Automatic bids will be determined by Sunday's final place finishes. On Wednesday, March 13, the NCAA will announce remaining at-large bids (4 in each weight).
Last Season & Tournament History: Last season in Athens, three Kent State wrestlers earned individual titles, but Central Michigan won its 11th straight tournament championship with 89 points. The Golden Flashes settled for second place for the seventh straight year with 79 points. Keith Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio) won a conference title at 197, while Tyler Small (Littlestown, Pa.) and Ian Miller (Oak Harbor, Ohio) won crowns at 141 and 149 respectively.
Since the MAC Championships began in 1952, Kent State has won 10 tournament crowns, including six straight from 1977-82 under Head Coach Ron Gray. The Flashes have finished second 26 times, including each of the last seven seasons. Central Michigan has won 14 of the last 15 tournaments. Ohio (2001) has been the only other school to win a title in that span.
This season, No. 4 Missouri and No. 22 Northern Iowa have joined the field, making it an eight-team tournament. The Tigers enter the weekend with six top seeds, while the Panthers have one.
Weight-By-Weight: (Individual rankings based on Feb. 28 Coaches Panel)
125: No. 26 Stevie Mitcheff (26-10) is the No.3 seed in a bracket with four automatic bids. Mitcheff brings a five-match winning streak to Buffalo, including a first period pin of Wisconsin's Matt Cavallaris at the NWCA Duals. Mitcheff has won tournament titles at the Navy Classic and the Brute Invitational and has eight bonus-point victories on the year. Last season, Mitcheff placed fourth at 133, competing in his first MAC tournament.
Missouri's Alan Waters is No. 1 in the nation, while Central Michigan's Christian Cullinan is No. 9. Mitcheff fell to Cullinan 1-0 in a dual meet this season. Eastern Michigan's Jared Germaine is No. 27.
133: No. 27 Mack McGuire (22-16) is the No. 5 seed in a bracket with three automatic bids. In his most recent action, McGuire knocked off No. 6 Jon Morrison (Oklahoma State) 3-2, marking his biggest victory since taking on the starting role in January. McGuire has placed in the top six at three tournaments and has seven bonus-point victories on the year. No. 5 Nate McCormick (Missouri) is the top seed, while No. 8 Scotti Sentes is the No. 2 seed. No. 10 Levi Wolfensperger (Northern Iowa) is the third seed and Northern Illinois' Nick Smith will likely be McGuire's quarterfinal opponent as the No.4 seed.
141: Luke Kern (8-22) will likely take on second-seeded Erik Galloway of Buffalo in the one-bid bracket. Galloway edged Kern 5-4 in the dual meet. Kern has four pins on the year. No. 13 Joey Lazor of Northern Iowa is the top seed. Third-seeded Kevin Fanta (Northern Illinois) placed second at last year's tournament.
149: Andy Candiello (9-14) will likely face No. 12 Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) in the quarterfinals of the two-bid bracket. Like McGuire and Kern, Candiello is making his first MAC Championships appearance. Candiello went 1-2 in MAC duals. No. 23 Donnie Corby (Central Michigan) is the No.2 seed and No. 27 Bart Reiter (Northern Iowa) is the No. 3 seed.
157: Tommy Sasfy (14-15) is coming off a 7-6 victory over Wisconsin's Charles York. Sasfy totaled four dual meet victories after taking over the starting role in January. He has placed in the top six at two tournaments this season. Although he has spent time in the starting lineup throughout his career, Sasfy is making his first appearance in the conference tournament, where he will likely face top-seeded Kyle Bradley (Missouri), who is ranked No. 15. Three automatic bids are available at 157. No. 21 David Bonin (Northern Iowa) is the No. 2 seed and No. 28 Aaron Sulzer (Eastern Michigan) is the No. 3 seed. Sasfy defeated fourth-seeded Sparty Chino (Ohio) 5-2 in this season's dual meet.
165: No. 33 Caleb Marsh (20-8) is the No. 4 seed after going 3-1 MAC duals. Marsh will likely face Ohio's Harrison Hightower in the opening round, after defeating him two other times this season. Marsh earned a tournament title at the Navy Classic and placed second at the Brute Invitational. He has won seven of his last nine matches. Two automatic bids are up for grabs at 165. No. 24 Mike Ottinger (Central Michigan) is the top seed, while No. 16 Zach Toal (Missouri) is the No. 2 seed and No. 14 Mark Lewandowski (Buffalo) claimed the No. 3 seed.
174: No. 25 Sam Wheeler (24-9) has won his last seven matches, including a convincing 10-5 victory over No. 28 Scott Liegel (Wisonsin). During that span, he's also defeated No. 23 Craig Kelliher (Central Michigan), who is the No. 5 seed and No. 18 John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo), who is the No. 4 seed. Wheeler has 10 bonus-point victories on the year. Five automatic bids are at stake at 174. Wheeler will likely face sixth-seeded Cody Caldwell (Northern Illinois) in the quarterfinals. No. 10 Todd Porter (Missouri) is the top seed, followed by No. 17 Cody Walters (Ohio), who has defeated Wheeler three times.
184: No. 15 Casey Newburg (32-6) is the No. 4 seed in what may be the toughest bracket of all with four NCAA bids on the line. Newburg is tied for fifth among Division I wrestlers in technical falls with six. He is in sixth place on Kent State's career win list with 117, just two behind Jermail Porter. Newburg has won four tournament titles this season and 14 bonus-point victories. He placed second at the MAC Championships in 2011 and fourth in 2012. No. 2 Ben Bennett (Central Michigan) is the top seed. Bennett edged Newburg 1-0 in this year's dual meet. No. 6 Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) claimed the No. 2 seed and No. 12 Mike Larson (Missouri) is the No. 3 seed.
197: No. 1 Dustin Kilgore (36-0) looks to become the fifth wrestler in Mid-American Conference history to be a four-time conference champion. Brent Thompson has been the only four-time MAC champion in program history. Kilgore won a pair of conference titles at 184 (2009-10) before moving up to 197 in 2011. This season, he has 29 bonus-point victories and ranks second in the NCAA's Most Dominant Wrestler standings. His 17 pins lead the nation and is a Kent State single-season record. Kilgore also holds the school's career record for pins and recently raised his total to 49. The Flashes' career-victory leader (170) extended his NCAA winning streak to 55 after defeating a pair of Top 20 opponents at the NWCA Duals. The 2011 MAC Wrestler of the Year closed out his regular season with 65 straight victories in dual meets. In career MAC duals, Kilgore finished 20-0 with nine pins. Kilgore has defeated five opponents currently ranked in the Top 15 spots: Jake Meredith (Arizona State), Matt Wilps (Pitt) and Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming), Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State), Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State). Three automatic bids are at stake at 197. No. 12 Brent Haynes (Missouri) is the No. 2 seed, while No. 28 Nick Whitenburg (EMU) is the No. 3 seed.
285: Keith Witt (15-16) is No. 28 according to WrestlingReport.com and is the No. 6 seed in a bracket with three automatic bids. Witt has been a finalist at two tournaments this season and has 28 career pins. Witt claimed a MAC title at 197 pounds last season and placed second at the 2010 MAC tourney, while competing at 174. He will likely face No. 16 Jeremy Johnson (Ohio) in the quarterfinals. Johnson topped Witt 2-0 earlier this season. No. 2 Dom Bradley (Missouri) is the top seed, followed by No. 6 Jarod Trice (Central Michigan). Trice came away with 2-0 win over Witt in a dual meet.
The 2013 NCAA Championships will be held in Des Moines, Iowa March 21-23.
No. 4 Tigers Eye First-Ever MAC Championship in Buffalo
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The No. 4-ranked Tigers will make history this weekend in Buffalo, NY as they compete in their first-ever Mid-American Conference Wrestling tournament.
Missouri (16-3) battled admirably at the National Duals at the University of Minnesota two weekends ago, earning third place in the tournament. The Tigers kicked off with a dominating 28-6 team victory over No. 6 Ohio State in the opening round. No. 1-ranked junior Alan Waters set the tone with a 3:08 pin over Ohio State's twelfth-ranked Nikko Triggas at 125 pounds. Seniors Todd Porter and Brent Haynes followed his lead with upsets of No. 6 Nick Heflin (Dec. 4-3) and No. 12 Andrew Campolattano (Dec. 5-0).
Missouri would fall to top-ranked Oklahoma State in the semifinals 22-9, but the fifth-ranked squad rebounded in the consolation round to upset the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes. Waters knocked off top-ranked Hawkeye Matt McDonough 4-0 in the opening match and junior Kyle Bradley followed suit at 157 pounds, toppling No. 1 undefeated Derek St. John with a takedown in the final seconds.
Coming off the program's first Big 12 Championship last season, the Missouri wrestling squad accomplished another first when the program announced they would join the MAC Conference in 2012-13. Along with Missouri, Old Dominion and Northern Iowa joined as affiliate members of the MAC. Missouri defeated both of those schools earlier this year. The Tigers have squared off against two other MAC foes this season. In January, No. 11 Central Michigan edged Missouri at home 17-16. The Tigers responded the following weekend with wins over Northern Illinois and No. 21 Northern Iowa, 39-3 and 27-9, respectively.
Central Michigan has won the MAC Tournament eleven years in a row dating back in 2001. This year's field includes two of the nation's top-ranked wrestlers, Missouri's Waters and Kent State's Dustin Kilgore at 197 pounds. CMU's Ben Bennett is the second-ranked 184-pounder and a three-time MAC conference champion. No. 3-ranked senior Dom Bradley has a long history with CMU's No. 7-ranked Jarod Trice. The two grapplers trained for the 2012 Olympics together last season. Bradley won their last matchup 3-1 via tiebreaker this past January.
Missouri leads the all schools in the tournament with six number one seeds at their respective weight classes, which can be found at the official Conference website. The MAC holds 30 of the 290 qualifying spots for the NCAA Championship bracket. Missouri was the only school in the nation to qualify all 10 starters for the 2012 NCAAs.
The Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships will be held on Sunday, March 10 at the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, NY. The matches begin at 9:00 a.m. CT and will conclude with the championship bouts at 4:20 p.m. CT. The tournament will be streamed live on the official MAC Conference . Fans can also follow @MizzouWrestling and @MACWrestlingResults as well as searching the hashtag #2013MACWrestling.
ON THE MAT:
125 - No. 1 Alan Waters, Jr., (26-0)
Junior is ranked No. 1 for the first time in his career after defeating former No. 1 Matt McDonough of Iowa. He is only six wins shy of 100 in his career and holds a perfect 26-0 record in 2012-13.
133 - No. 7 Nathan McCormick, Sr., (28-4)
Senior-captain has had a phenomenal year with his only losses coming against No. 1 Logan Steiber and No. 4 Jon Morrison. Has a 3-0 record against MAC opponents this year, including a 7-1 decision over CMU's Scotti Sentes.
141 - Nicholas Hucke, Sr., (11-12)
Senior grappler comes in ranked fourth in the MAC Championships in a weight class that only has one NCAA qualifying spot.
149 - No. 11 Drake Houdashelt, So., (25-9)
Been one of the most aggressive Tigers this year in terms of takedowns (46) and major decisions (10). Through two full seasons at Mizzou, he holds a 53-16 record.
157 - No. 15 Kyle Bradley, Jr., (24-12)
Tied for the team lead in major decisions this year (10) and has been wrestling well as of late, including an upset over No. 1 Derek St. John of Iowa at the National Duals.
165 - No. 15 Zach Toal, Jr., (21-14)
Starting to find a stride in the last couple of bouts. Many of his 14 losses have come against ranked foes.
174 - No. 8 Todd Porter, Sr., (28-9)
Beginning to turn heads after finding his way into the top-10 in rankings. One of the most consistent grapplers this season some big-time wins over higher-ranked opponents. Leads the team with 58 takedowns.
184 - No. 12 Mike Larson, Sr., (25-9)
Has inched closer to becoming a part of the 100-win club at Mizzou (94) and holds a 25-9 record in 2012-13. Looks to avenge his loss against No. 2 Ben Bennett (CMU) from earlier this year.
197 - No. 12 Brent Haynes, Sr., (29-7)
Was the only Tiger to go a perfect 3-0 in Minnesota for the NWCA National Duals Finals. Ranked tied for 9th in Mizzou history in wins (110).
HWT - No. 3 Dom Bradley, RSr., (32-1)
Two wins shy of 100-career and leads the Tigers in decisions this year (19). Dropped his first bout of the year against No. 3 Alan Gelogaev, 4-3. Bradley and CMU's Jarod Trice have squared off four times since 2009, including Bradley's 3-2 third-place victory over Trice at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
GAME NOTES: Mizzou was the only program in the country to qualify all 10 of their starters to last year's NCAA's. Nine of the wrestlers earned automatic qualifier bids after their performance at the Big 12 Championship. Two Tigers earned national seeds, with Alan Waters coming in at No. 3 at 125 pounds and Brent Haynes getting the No. 6 seed at 197. Four Tiger wrestlers won Big 12 conference championships last season.
WHAT'S NEXT: This will be the final Tiger wrestling event of the 2012-13 season before the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The NCAA Championships will be held from Thursday, March 21 through Saturday, March 23 at Wells Fargo Arena. For the latest on Missouri Wrestling, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and right here on MUTigers.com.
No. 22 ranked Northern Iowa Wrestling to Compete in First MAC Championships
The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team heads to the Mid-American Conference Championships this weekend in Buffalo, N.Y., to compete for individual spots at the national NCAA Wrestling Championships. At least 30 wrestlers will advance automatically from the MAC Championships held March 10. After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will select 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 13. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on head-to-head competition, qualifying event placement, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, RPI, coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.
Four schools boast at least one top-seeded wrestler headed into the MAC Championships. UNI's Joey Lazor leads the 141-pound weight class. Missouri has six top seeds, while Central Michigan will bring two top seeds and Kent State with one top seed.
Based on the individual rankings, new MAC affiliate member Missouri is expected to win the 2013 conference championship and end the 11-year consecutive run by the Central Michigan Chippewas as MAC defending champions. UNI is ranked third among the MAC teams.
During the fall of 2012, the conference announced the addition of the University of Missouri, the University of Northern Iowa and Old Dominion University as affiliate members in the sport of wrestling. All three universities joined the MAC with five-year agreements, with Missouri and Northern Iowa joining the MAC for the conference tournament only for the 2012-13 season and then to participate fully in regular season and tournament action for the next four consecutive years (2013-14 season thru 2016-17 academic season). Old Dominion will join the MAC for the regular season and tournament action in the 2013-14 season through the 2017-18 academic season.
The MAC will take advance the following number of wrestlers to the national championships from each weight class: 125 - 4 wrestlers; 133 - 3 wrestlers; 141 - 1 wrestler; 149 - 2 wrestlers; 157 - 3 wrestlers; 165 - 2 wrestlers; 174 - 5 wrestlers; 184 - 4 wrestlers; 197 - 3 wrestlers; 285 - 3 wrestlers.
NOTES BY WEIGHT:
125 - Four wrestlers will advance automatically.
Ryan Jauch (5-9/5-7 duals) Crystal Lake, Ill. / Crystal Lake Central. After wrestling in the 133-pound weight class for the last couple of years, Jauch has moved down to 125 for his senior year. He won his first match of the year by technical fall (18-1) and his second with a pin in 1:31. He pinned Tyler Gilleland of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in 20 seconds. He upset No. 16 Dominick Malone to help the team beat No. 21 Northwestern. As a junior, he upset the No. 3 seed in the West Regional in the first round. He was the Finn Grinaker Open champion at 133 pounds and placed second at Harold Nichols Cyclone Open.
No. 1 Alan Waters, Missouri
No. 9 Christian Cullinan, Central Michigan
No. 26 Steve Mitcheff, Kent State
No. 27 Jared Germaine, Eastern Michigan
Max Soria, Buffalo
Ryan Jauch, Northern Iowa
Kevon Powell, Ohio
Derek Elmore, Northern Illinois
Waters is the only MAC competitor Jauch has faced this year. Waters won by decision, 5-2. Jauch will face Mitcheff as his first opponent.
133 - Three wrestlers will automatically advance.
Levi Wolfensperger (21-7/10-3) Denver, Iowa / Denver. UNI's Wolfensperger, a sophomore, is a returning NCAA national qualifier for the Panthers and placed fourth at the Cliff Keen Invite. He won the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. As a redshirt freshman, he was the WWC's only NCAA qualifier and had the most pins at the West Regional.
Four 133-pound MAC wrestlers are nationally ranked in the seeding:
No. 5 Nathan McCormick, Missouri
No. 8 Scott Sentes, Central Michigan
No. 10 Levi Wolfensperger, Northern Iowa
Nick Smith, Northern Illinois
No. 27 - Mackenzie McGuire, Kent State
Vince Pizzuto, Eastern Michigan
Justin Farmer, Buffalo
Joey Munoz, Ohio
McCormick is the only MAC wrestler Wolfensperger has competed against. McCormick won that match 11-1. Wolfensperger's first opponent will be Pizzuto.
141 - Only one wrestler will qualify automatically.
Joey Lazor (29-7/12-2) McDonough, Ga. / Union Grove. Injury kept Lazor, a junior, out of the Panther lineup last year, but he has been an integral part of the UNI team this year. He placed seventh at the Midlands Championships. As a junior, he saw limited action with his injury but placed sixth at Flash Flanagan and sixth at the Duhawk Open.
No. 13 Joey Lazor, Northern Iowa
Erik Galloway, Buffalo
No. 30 Kevin Fanta, Northern Illinois
No. 32 Nick Hucke, Missouri
No. 33 Scott Mattingly, Central Michigan
Seth Schaner, Eastern Michigan
Dillon Kern, Kent State
Kagan Squire, Ohio
Lazor will begin competition at the MAC against Squire.
149 - Two advance.
Bart Reiter (11-6/7-4) Gilbertville, Iowa / Don Bosco / Minnesota. Injury slowed Reiter's start to the season, but he has been healthy and an asset to the Panther lineup since returning. Reiter started his collegiate wrestling career at Minnesota. This is his first year at UNI.
No. 12 Drake Houdasheldt, Missouri
No. 23 Donnie Corby, Central Michigan
Bart Reiter, Northern Iowa
Andrew Romanchik, Ohio
Rob Jillard, Northern Illinois
Blake Roulo, Buffalo
Mike Shaw, Eastern Michigan
Andrew Candillo, Kent State
Reiter will face Roulo in his first match.
157 - Three wrestlers advance.
David Bonin (23-6/10-4) Broussard, La. / Comeaux. Bonin, a senior, is a two-time NCAA national qualifier for UNI. He has held a national ranking for the majority of the year. Bonin won the UNI Open, was second at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open and placed fifth at the Cliff Keen Invite. He beat No. 15 Matt Lester in SV2 to help the Panthers beat No. 13 Oklahoma Jan. 18 to earn a spot in the national rankings. As a junior he upset three ranked opponents, including the No. 4 seed Walter Peppelman in the first round of the NCAA Championships with a pin.
No. 15 Kyle Bradley, Missouri
No. 21 David Bonin, Northern Iowa
No. 29 Aaron Sulzer, Eastern Michigan
No. 31 Spartak Chino, Ohio
No. 29 Luke Smith, Central Michigan
Andrew Morse, Northern Illinois
Wally Maziarz, Buffalo
Tommy Sasfy, Kent State
Bonin beat Bradley at the Cliff Keen with an 8-6 decision, but he lost by 6-4 decision to him in a home dual. Bonin will face Maziarz in his first match.
165 - Two wrestlers will advance.
Jarrett Jensen (15-14/7-7) Rapid City, S.D. / Rapid City Stevens. Jensen, a redshirt freshman, has been in the UNI lineup for all of UNI's dual meets this season. He placed sixth at the UNI Open. His recent losses came to No. 4 Patrick "Bubby" Graham of Oklahoma and No. 16 Pierce Harger of Northwestern. He is the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open champion. As a freshman, he won three open tournaments: Loras Open and Jim Fox Open at 157 pounds and the Flash Flanagan Open at 165 pounds.
No. 24 Mike Ottinger, Central Michigan
No. 16 Zach Toal, Missouri
No. 14 Mark Lewandowski, Buffalo
No. 33 Caleb Marsh, Kent State
Harrison Hightower, Ohio
Jake Davis, Eastern Michigan
Sam Bennett, Northern Illinois
Jarrett Jensen, Northern Iowa
Toal beat Jensen in a close 4-2 decision in a dual meet. Jensen will face the conference's top seed, Ottinger, in his first match.
174 - Five wrestlers automatically advance.
Cody Caldwell (24-8/8-4) Waverly, Iowa / Waverly-Shell Rock. Caldwell was seventh at the Cliff Keen Invite in Las Vegas, Nev. Caldwell, a redshirt freshman, won the UNI Open and the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. As a freshman, he posted the best winning percentage (.885) of the freshman class, winning the Jim Fox Open, William Penn Open and the Flash Flanagan Open.
No. 10 Todd Porter, Missouri
No. 17 Cody Walters, Ohio
No. 25 Sam Wheeler, Kent State
No. 18 John-Martin Cannon, Buffalo
No. T23 Craig Kelliher, Central Michigan
No. T23 Cody Caldwell, Northern Iowa
Matt Mougin, Northern Illinois
No. 31 (at 184 pounds) Phillip Joseph, Eastern Michigan
Caldwell beat Porter 13-9 to take seventh place at the Cliff Keen, but he lost to Porter in an 8-2 decision at a dual meet. Kelliher beat Caldwell in a 9-2 decision at the Midland Championships. Caldwell will begin the tournament wrestling Wheeler of Kent State.
184 - Four will advance.
Ryan Loder (28-3/13-0) Granite Bay, Calif. / Granite Bay. Loder has been nationally ranked all season. He is a two-time returning NCAA national qualifier. Loder's career record is the fifth-highest winning percentage among all UNI Panthers who have had at least 50 wins and competed at least two seasons in Division I. He consistently has been UNI's top place winner at competitive tournaments, winning the UNI Open, placing third at the Cliff Keen Invite and taking fourth at the Midlands Championships. He upset No. 8 Mike Larson of Missouri in a dual. As a sophomore, he never lost a match by major decision, technical fall or pin. He won three open tournaments: Harold Nichols Cyclone Open, Finn Grinaker Open and the UNI Open. He placed third at Midlands and was named Top Contender.
No. 2 Ben Bennett, Central Michigan
No. 6 Ryan Loder, Northern Iowa
No. 12 Mike Larson, Missouri
No. 15 Casey Newburg, Kent State
Michael Duckworth, Ohio
Khodor Hoballah, Eastern Michigan
Tony Lock, Buffalo
Bryan Loughlin, Northern Illinois
Loder beat Casey Newburg, 2-1, at Cliff Keen. Loder lost by a 3-2 decision to Larson at Cliff Keen, but beat him 3-0 in a home dual tournament. Loder will take on Lock for his first match.
197 - Three will advance.
Taylor Kettman (1-3/1-3) Waterloo, Iowa / Don Bosco. Injury has slowed Kettman's start to the season. The sophomore was undefeated in competition his first weekend back. He placed second at the Flash Flanagan Open last year and third at the Finn Grinaker Cobber open. He was fifth at the UNI Open last season. As a freshman, he picked up eight wins in open tournaments.
No. 1 Dustin Kilgore, Kent State
No. 12 Brent Haynes, Missouri
No. 28 Nick Whitenburg, Eastern Michigan
Phillip Wellington, Ohio
Angelo Malvestuto, Buffalo
Parker Settecase, Northern Illinois
Taylor Kettman, Northern Iowa
Jackson Lewis, Central Michigan
Kettman faces Haynes in his first match of the tournament.
285 - Three advance.
Blayne Beale (13-10/6-6) Davenport, Iowa / Davenport West. Beale, a senior, is one of four returning NCAA national qualifiers for UNI. He has wrestled the majority of the duals for the Panthers this season. He got fourth at the UNI Open, his first meet of the season. His last-second takedown against Keldrick Hall of Oklahoma helped secure the Panthers' win against the Sooners. His 3-2 decision over Hall gave UNI the three points it needed to win as a team. As a junior, he was undefeated in WWC dual competition and won the Flash Flanagan Open.
No. 2 Dom Bradley, Missouri
No. 6 Jared Trice, Central Michigan
No. 16 Jeremy Johnson, Ohio
Blayne Beale, Northern Iowa
Jared Torrence, Northern Illinois
Keith Witt, Kent State
Justin Heiserman, Buffalo
Chris Eggert, Eastern Michigan
Beale lost to Bradley, who was the top-ranked wrestler in the nation at the time, in a home dual by a 3-1 decision. Beale will face Torrence in his first match at the MAC.
Northern Illinois Prepares for 2013 MAC Championships
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois wrestling team opens their postseason Sunday with the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. The action starts at 9 a.m. CT with the first rounds, while championship matches will begin at 4 p.m. CT inside UB’s Alumni Arena.
"We are eager as a team to get out to Buffalo and compete,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “The guys have been training smart and are fired up to compete. The MAC tournament should prove to be one of the most competitive and elite conference championships in the country. Our expectations as a team are positive in that we know that, when all of our individuals are firing, good things will happen. I believe we are coming together at the right time and that our guys know the game plans they want to execute.”
The Huskies enter the postseason with plenty of momentum after winning their final three duals of the season. They capped off their regular season with a pair of wins in Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 24, topping Gardner-Webb and Cleveland State in convincing fashion. Nick Smith, Rob Jillard, Andrew Morse and Parker Settecase each won their two matches on the day for NIU.
Entering the tournament, two Huskies – Smith and Kevin Fanta – have top four seeds in their respective weight classes. Fanta will be the third seed at 141 pounds and faces Eastern Michigan’s Seth Schaner in the opener, while Smith is fourth at 133 and battles Kent State’s Mackenzie McGuire in the first round.
There will also be plenty of tough draws in the first round for the Huskies. Derek Elmore will get the honor of facing the NCAA’s top-ranked 125-pounder with a first round matchup against Missouri’s Alan Waters. Additionally, Bryan Loughlin will face No. 2 Ben Bennett from Central Michigan at 184.
In the other first round matchups, Rob Jillard duels Ohio’s Andrew Romanchik at 149, Morse takes on EMU’s Aaron Sulzer at 157 and Sam Bennett goes against Missouri’s Zach Toal at 165. Also, Matt Mougin battles Ohio’s Cody Rogers at 174, Parker Settecase goes against Nick Whitenburg of EMU at 197 and Jared Torrence faces Northern Iowa’s Blayne Beale at heavyweight.
In addition to conference championships, NCAA automatic berths will also be on the line in the tournament. The 174 pound weight class will send their top five to Des Moines, while 125 and 184 each send four to nationals. Three qualifiers each will come from 133, 157, 197 and 285, along with two from 149 and 165. The final weight class, 141, will only send the tournament champion.
Fans can follow along with the action on MAC-Sports.com with live streaming and with live updates on Twitter @MACWrestResults.
125: Derek Elmore
133: Nick Smith
141: Kevin Fanta
149: Rob Jillard
157: Andrew Morse
165: Sam Bennett
174: Matt Mougin
184: Bryan Loughlin
197: Parker Settecase
285: Jared Torrence
History At The Mac Championships: NIU returns to the MAC Championships this season looking to improve on last season’s fifth place finish and 41 points - only one-half point behind fourth place Ohio. The Huskies will also be looking to register their 42nd MAC individual champion, with the last one coming in 2011 with Brad Dieckhaus at 184 pounds. As a team, the last and only MAC championship for Northern came in 1985, when the Huskies dominated the field with 89 points, topping second place Miami (Ohio) by 40.
Winning Ways: By finishing the year with a 10-8 record, the Huskies earned double-digit dual wins for the first time since the 2007-08 season, when they notched 11 victories. Since moving to the Division I ranks in 1969, NIU has recorded 14 seasons of 10 dual wins or more. The record for most dual wins in a season is 15, which occurred in 1988-89 and 2002-03.
No Flash In The Pan: Junior Nick Smith has made quite a name for himself in his nearly three seasons on the mat. After his two wins in the regular season finale, the Ida, Mich., native has compiled a 46-20 record - an incredible 26 wins over .500. The next closest Huskie in wins over .500 (minimum two seasons) is Kevin Fanta with nine.
Back to Form: After taking two losses to open February, Kevin Fanta closed the month with a big second period pin against Gardner-Webb’s Davante Andujar. Heading into the conference tournament, the 2012 NCAA qualifier boasts a 7-4 record on the year with two pins and a major decision.
Jillard’s Late-Season Run: Rob Jillard seems to be hitting a hot streak at the right time, as he has won five of his last six matches heading into the MAC Championships. In those five wins, the junior has recorded two pins and outscored his opponents 25-7 in the other three matches at 149 pounds.
Up Next: Pending the results of the MAC Championships, the Huskies will send representatives to the 2013 NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, March 21-23. The tournament begins Thursday and runs through Saturday night.